Care During Chemotherapy and Beyond
What Is Loss of Libido?
Your libido is also called your "sexual drive" or desire for sexual relations. It
is also known as a lack of desire, as far as sexuality is concerned. Your sexual
- Desire disorders - you do not have a want for intimacy and sexual relations, due
to altered body image, or side effects of chemotherapy or cancer treatment
- Arousal disorders - when you have a difficulty responding to your partner's advances,
or cannot keep interested or aroused
- Orgasm disorder - you are unable to obtain an orgasm, or climax during sexual activity
These terms are all related to sexual dysfunction. It is important to focus on what
area in your relationship is causing you to have a loss of libido, and try to correct
What Causes Loss of Libido?
There are many things that can lead to a loss of libido, and lack of desire for
sexual intimacy. These are usually related to the physical and emotional effects
of cancer and chemotherapy. Certain causes may include:
- Body image changes - from hair loss, increased or decreased weight
- Side effects of treatment- such as nausea, pain, fatigue.
- Fear, guilt, and anxiety, for multiple reasons, will also play a role in your sexual
- Painful sexual relations (during or after intercourse) may cause problems with libido.
Things You Can Do For Loss of Libido:
- Communicate your feelings with your significant other. Make sure that you talk about
your feelings, instead of thinking "it will all get better with time." Communication
is of high importance
- If nausea is an issue, take anti-nausea medication 30 minutes -1 hour before sexual
activity. Try to eat crackers or a light meal to help curb nausea, if it is later
in the evening.
- Rest before initiating sexual activity, to minimize fatigue during and afterwards.
- Avoid a heavy meal or alcohol before you initiate sexual relations.
- Try a warm bath with candles for relaxation. Play soft music and use relaxing
massages to help make the mood.
- You do not need to perform the act of intercourse in order to enjoy a filling sexual
relationship. Touching exercises and cuddling may be just as effective for you and
your partner. Some benefits and suggestions include:
- Touching in a non-sexual way will show dedication to the relationship, and help
your relationship grow stronger. Here, you will be able to explore ways to pleasure
each other - that does not have to be sexual in nature, or include the act of intercourse.
- Use massage oils to rub your partner's hands, back, or feet. In example, you may
have bone pain or discomfort that may prevent you from being able to enjoy pleasure.
This relaxation technique may help you to be able to relax, be comfortable, and
function in an intimate manner.
- Support groups are valuable ways to meet people who are sharing the same experiences,
and may help you to feel less alone. Those who belong to a support group may be
newly diagnosed, or in remission for years. You may find that some of your fears
are ones that others are experiencing. You may also find some helpful hints for
managing your disease. Ask your doctor or healthcare provider if there is
a support group that is right for you.
Common Problems With Sexuality: Impotence, Gynecomastia, Loss of Libido, Vaginal
Dryness, Vaginal Infection,
and Genital Pain
Note: We strongly encourage you to talk with your health
care professional about your specific medical condition and treatments. The information
contained in this website is meant to be helpful and educational, but is not a substitute
for medical advice.
Chemocare.com is designed to provide the latest information about chemotherapy to patients and their families, caregivers and friends. For information about the 4th Angel Mentoring Program visit www.4thangel.org